Compiled by David Olmos, Times Staff Writer

AST Research, an Irvine personal computer manufacturer, has announced a program that will allow computer stores that sell its machines to become "authorized" AST dealers.

AST said its "Premium Reseller Program" is part of the company's effort to expand and improve marketing of its line of IBM-compatible personal computers.

Computer stores that are approved for the program will receive discounts on demonstration products, employee purchase discounts, access to a sales and service hot line and other benefits, AST officials said.

AST said the program will start Feb. 1.

AST also announced two contracts totaling $1.1 million with customers in Hong Kong. The company said it signed a $1-million contract to supply 270 of its Premium/286 personal computers to the Hong Kong government. The second contract, valued at $135,000, was with the Hong Kong Bank, which bought 50 personal computers.

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